Mediterranean Meatballs with Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce


These lean, Mediterranean meatballs are made from a delicious mix of turkey mince, olives, capers, parmesan and basil, then baked to perfection in a spicy arrabbiata sauce! They are oh so easy to make and deliver big on taste. The thing I love about meatballs is how diverse they are, you could eat them with a big salad (as I have done), pasta, as a sandwich or even with mixed veggies. I've used turkey instead of traditional beef or pork mince which really helps to keep the dish light and therefore a perfect summer meatball option. I've made the arrabbiata sauce spicy but if you like a little less heat, simply reduce the amount of dried chilli.

Makes 12 meatballs

Ingredients for the meatballs

300g turkey mince

3 tbsp breadcrumbs

2 tbsp milk

2 tbsp parmesan, plus extra to serve

2 tbsp capers

50g mixed olives

1 garlic clove, minced

1 small egg

10 basil leaves, plus extra to serve

Ingredients for the arrabbiata sauce

2 x 400g tins Italian plum tomatoes

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

3 garlic cloves, minced

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 180C fan.

Start by making the meatballs. In a small bowl mix the breadcrumbs and milk, allow to absorb.

Place the soaked breadcrumbs, parmesan, capers, olives and garlic in food processor and tear in the basil leaves. Blitz until you have a smooth paste. In a mixing bowl combine the paste, turkey mince and egg, using you hands is probably best. Season and roll into 12 balls, adding more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet.

Transfer the meatballs to a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and pop in the oven for 20 minutes.

As soon as the meatballs go into the oven begin to make the arrabbiata sauce. Heat a glug of olive oil over a medium heat, once hot add the garlic and cook for minute until soften but not browned. Add the chilli and cook for a further 30 seconds. Tip in the tomatoes, fill up one of the empty cans half way with water and add this to the pan as well. Cook on a medium to high heat, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon, season to taste and allow to reduce into a thick sauce until the meatballs are ready.

Take the meatballs out of the oven and spoon the sauce into the dish. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes. This is a good time to prepare your accompaniment, such as salad or pasta.

Remove the meatballs from the oven and serve immediately with a sprinkling of chopped basil and parmesan.

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